Arthropod Fossils: Trilobites, Insects, Arachnids & Kin | Darwin and Wallace: A Nature & Fossil Store

Arthropod Fossils: Trilobites, Insects, Arachnids & Kin

    Arthropods (or "Bugs" as they are commonly known) are the most widespread and diverse form of animal on the planet, consisting of more than 80% of extant animal life known. Unlike other animals, arthropods wear their skeletons on the outside of their segmented bodies (referred to as an exoskeleton or cuticle), and have several jointed limbs. In order for an arthropod to grow, it must moult its cuticle periodically throughout its lifetime until full maturity. The size range in living arthropods can range from microscopic plankton, up to the 12 ft. legspan seen in the Japanese spider crab (both crustaceans), though increased oxygen during the Carboniferous Period allowed arthropods to achieve immense sizes by today's standards. There are five main groupings of arthropods, though their relationships are still debated by researchers today: the Hexapods (Insects and relatives with six legs), the Chelicerates (arachnids and relatives that possess mouth parts that aid in feeding), the Crustaceans (the mostly aquatic shellfish), the Myriapods (milipedes, centipedes, and relatives), and the Trilobites (the dominant animals of the Paleozoic Era that are now completely extinct). The oldest arthropods known go as far back in time as the Ediacaran Period, approximately 555 million years ago.

Click on the images below to see the incredible fossils we offer in our Arthropod selection:

Trilobites

Insecta: Insects


Crustacea: Crustaceans